Healthcare brands know white papers are one of the most effective tools to funnel leads through the buyer’s journey. When done right, white papers primarily educate potential customers on a significant pain point or challenge they face and then—only then—offer a solution.

When it comes to planning and writing white papers however, many healthcare brands miss the mark completely. They make crucial, obvious mistakes that crush their credibility and send leads to look elsewhere for the right solution.

Here, read on for 5 of the most common white paper mistakes healthcare brands make—and how to remedy them—stat.

Mistake #1: Poor planning

As with any type of content, you must take the time to plan out your write paper before you can start writing it. It’s vital that you have actual buyer personas, not just an idea in your head, so you understand who your customers are, their pain points and the common objections they have to your product or service.

Before writing a white paper, you need to get everyone on board, including your c-suite, marketing and sales teams to ensure the topic of your white paper is something your leads need to know and want to learn more about.

Mistake #2: No creative brief

Every writing project needs a creative brief or a synopsis of the goal, specific ideas that must be included, studies and/or surveys you want to include and a targeted call to action. Whether you hire a healthcare content marketing writer or you write it in-house, you must have a creative brief to refer to.

Mistake #3: Skipping the outline

You might think having an outline will stifle your creativity, but it’s a crucial first step when writing a white paper and it will make the writing process much easier. The outline is the only way you can see how your story will flow and if it makes sense before you sit down to write. The outline also helps your team understand what the white paper will include and allows them to provide feedback and make revisions before you invest any significant time or money into the project.

Mistake #4: Talking too much about your business

The primary goal of a white paper is to educate your leads about a potential problem or challenge they’re facing. Leads that download a white paper are in the “awareness stage” of the buyer’s journey so they’re looking for information, unique insights and data.

If you start pitching your business too soon, however, it kills your credibility and will likely send your leads in another direction. Just as you would conduct a sales call: educate and inform. Then towards the end of the white paper, talk about how your offering is the solution your leads need now.

Mistake #5: No interviews or quotes

Relevant studies, surveys and data are a good start but they’re not enough to back up what you want to say, not to mention it makes for a boring read. Think of your white paper like a news story and be sure to interview c-level executives, your sales team and key stakeholders to get the entire story and compelling quotes that build your credibility and make the white paper a piece of content your leads can’t wait to read.